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15 Jun 2013: Apostolos Konstantinidis

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By Tony Pothitos

Monthly Meeting ACA at Apostolos Konstantinidis

Beauty is the one word which immediately comes to mind when standing close to Apostolos’ system. The atmosphere is not only musical but extremely gentle to the heart and eye. The symmetry between wood and metal is fine and RE-fined exceptionally.

The insignia of VAC is everywhere and the Focal speakers sit there waiting like puppies to be petted. I cannot but help looking at the turntable which is nothing short of Naomi Campbel. Simply stunning. The inox and silver simply accompany each other like spaghetti and sauce does. A perfect unison I would say.

Apokon-June-2013-systemI have been to Apostolos’ home many times during the past and I am sure that I have written over 2 or three articles on ACA meetings here. I have experienced many moments which are stamped into my memory and my own personal life, not just concerning music but of human love and sensuality. If you add to that a personality which has helped change ACA into what it is today, then you have a summary line which is beyond numbers.

The Audio System...

Analog Source: TRANSROTOR, Apollon 40/80, Dynavector DV507 mkII + Dynavector XV-1T
Digital Source: ESOTERIC, X-05
Tuner: Magnum, Dynalab 100T
Preamplifiers: VAC, Renaissance MKIII (with phono)
Amplifiers Tube: VAC, Φ300.1
Speakers: FOCAL, Nova Utopia
Cables: Accuphase (interconnects), Acrolink (speakers, power)
Power Conditioner: SHUNYATA, Hydra-8
Rack: Audio Magic HEPTA

The listening session...

After the initial description of the equipment, the lights were dimmed to a perfect low yet high enough to see it all. It was almost like candles were lite.

Apokon-June-2013-syst2First up was Brel, and JOJO was on with as much poise as a French artist sitting up straight creating a piece of art on canvas. I can see the microphone and hear the “JOJO” stem from the phalanx while hearing the nasal cavity at the same time. The background music was subtle and perfectly accompanying the voice which was obviously the heart of the specific piece of work. His falsettos were perfect and every note was spot on.

The listening levels were perfectly adjusted even though we were quite a few at todays meeting-on this hot summer Saturday night. The seating I might add was exactly where it should be, not too high and low enough to feel the speaker’s size.

Title two was nothing more than Tom Jones. An LP with no characteristic on its cover but with more than enough music in it, and as “Ill never fall in love again” played, I felt a smile on my face become a moment of thinking of the past. This has happened recently only once before but this time it was tingling down my spine. Tom Jones is known to be a man with a voice that can throttle an orchestra if needed and this title and execution was no different than what was expected, and even more so.

Apokon-June-2013-syst3Title three, Renzo Arbore L’Orchestra, is an infamous song which takes you on a spin through musical beats which cannot be called Italian in any way, but a mix of many cultures brought together to sound Italian in the end. The system took the complexity with such ease and reproduced the song as if it was going for a stroll down the board walk. Effortlessly it played at all db levels. The louder it got the more we wanted to dance. The only problem was that there wasn’t enough room in the house to actually do it. The presence of self and elevation of spirit virtually drew out every breath you had while this was on. It was as fast as a Brazilian dancer and as poetic as Giannis Ritsos could be. The fingers and feet of everyone around were ready to break out into frenzy from the simple dop-amine we received from this song’s execution.

Next up, Pink Floyd was poured into our veins as we simply sang along with the “Wish you were here” lyrics. The guitar seamlessly and unequivocally at pace with the heart of every man and woman in the room. I even stopped writing and closed my eyes only to remember I had to start writing again! During my closed eye session I felt the music seep into the inner corridors of my lust for the absolute, which is in this case is dubbed HIGH END love. The bass was tight, powerful yet not overpowering in any way. Nothing out of order or insufficient.

Apokon-June-2013-pic18I do not know what could have come next to make things even better until I heard the next title Apostolos played for us. MISA CRIOLLA on a Phillips LP. Argentinian tainted and scented straight from the homeland. The lifelines in this piece of work was simply touching. The vocals were beyond the speakers while the back up chorus was totally in harmony with the head vocalist. This was religion |melodically” set and written straight from the heavens. The pure luck of having the chance to listen to it in this life, on this system, was seriously a privilege.

How can anyone surpass this you might ask? Well try with Anna Netrebko and Violetta playing. I could see heads of ACA members being thrown back while they were fed the music instilled into their ears and mind. If someone could scan our brains at this exact point in time you would see excitation points beyond what sexuality can give you.

Sonny Boy Williamson then had us enchanted with the song “The Sky is Crying” and I can only tell you that if you have heard a harmonica cry in life only then could you understand the power of the little instrument on the lips of Sonny. The voice as always blues yet in hope. It is rather ironic that something so slow can make your heart go so fast! The bear banjo behind the voice was solid, yet not the best recording I have heard. This style of music simply needs the best recordings available. Totally realistic yet I wanted more. Some of the boys here were commenting on Sonny and the fact that if we could imagine him if he had teeth what he could do with his voice.

We then flew to Mexico with the Trio Los Panchos. The Japanese recording was essentially fluent in excellence and if we include the passion, then we might as well call it a perfect title indeed to listen to. Quisas simply blew us away.

Apokon-June-2013-pic04A fast track back to Greece and Maria Markesini, written by Mimi Plessas was played next. I thought it was rather sudden, but Apostolos had things thought out much more than I thought, and within a minute, the specific song was very much a Greek sibling of what was played before. The English language along with the Greek Aria of Eurydice/The colors of your heart was sweet and well developed. I did miss the spice of the previous songs but I didn’t know what was next as to understand this was played first.

Let me say for a short moment that the system was totally flawless in all aspects as I write these words. The musicality is simply an essence which cannot be described in a few lines here or on a page.

Fantastique Symphony-Berlioz was next and I was at awe when I noticed that whatever was thrown on the turntable it simply played it with the self esteem it played every other title. The orchestra grew in size just like it should and does in real life. The oboes and flutes were tender and musical while sensing the air and gravity of the music played. The speed was not synced with a staccato rhythm despite the momentum, but more like a well stitched cloth would be. Simply seamless.

Harry Alexiou, Psithiri, “Pare ta Xnaria mou” proved that this female vocalist still has what it took to glue one’s ears to the speakers. Despite the high volume level it still sounded unaffected by the imperfections in the room and despite the amount of people tonight.

Best for last was Hugh Masakela, and the infamous “ coal train” was the best thing that could have ended this ACA session.

The Final words...

I can only thank Apostolos for this absolute surprise. As I have mentioned before I have been here before, but I had never experienced the sensations I have tonight. This is simple perfection we have here. I cannot wait to hear more as soon as this computer is closed and people have left. The last thing I want to mention is that this system has grown over the years and since the last time I heard it, it has made bounds and leaps where I thought it was already fine.

Imagine that!

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  • Konstantinidis meeting 15-06-2013 video 01
  • Konstantinidis meeting 15-06-2013 video 02
  • Konstantinidis meeting 15-06-2013 video 03

Apostolos Konstantinidis' Member Page

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